Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Smile – What Brings a Smile to Your Face?

Exodus 34:29
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.

What brings a smile to your face? Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with my grandchildren (and children). We now have five grandchildren. Another answer might be a long winning streak by the Baltimore Orioles or Washington Nationals (even a win would be great at times). The opening day win in the 11th inning by the Birds Monday brought a smile to my face. Still another might be time spent with my wife. I could get very pastoral here and say a smile comes across my face when a person receives Jesus Christ – when the light comes on for them in their personal relationship with Jesus. Other things bring a smile to my face as well (like when my friend makes a good shot in golf and gets excited about it). When we see someone with a smile on their face we usually think something just happened and we tend to be curious.

How about when people notice you have lost weight? Better yet – when they say something encouraging to you (if losing weight was what you were after). I remember when one of my daughters greeted me with a hug and she said – getting skinny dad – as she wrapped her arms around me? What about someone saying something about your new hairdo or your new dress (or suit)? How about the smell of your favorite food – or freshly baked bread – or bacon frying (that one always brings a smile to my face)? Continue reading

April 5, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is The Rapture?

Matthew 24:36

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Have we read anything lately about the rapture. Do we even know what the rapture represents? I first posted this devotional thought on May 21st – 2011. According to fundamentalist Harold Camping – that was the day he predicted for the Rapture. The Rapture is a belief that the saints of Christ – true believers – will be raised before the end of time arrives. A key passage some use in their teaching about the Rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. Here’s what I believe – Christ will return – Christ will receive His church (true believers) – and the end times will unfold. I just wasn’t sold on Harold Camping’s prediction in 2011 nor of anyone’s ability to predict the date today of the rapture or the end of time. Nor what order things will occur.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 – According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Continue reading

April 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

As For Me And Mine!

Joshua 24:15

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

RayMcDFamily traditions – they create memories. In a few months my family will try to enjoy a family weekend without mom or dad. Our family traditionally returns to my mother’s home town for a family reunion. I have many memories – growing up – revolving around this annual trek. My children do as well. Other families have barbecues or go to a ball game or open the pool on this weekend. What are your memories for Memorial weekend?

Family traditions – they create memories. What memories can you remember? Special memories developed around what your family did/does on the 4th of July (cookout at my brother’s home) – Labor Day (wear work clothes to church) – Thanksgiving (serving meals) – Christmas (family night at our home) – and other special days. What about something special for your birthday or anniversary (some even celebrate the anniversary of their first date). I know someone who makes memories at Disney – not only annually but often each year! Continue reading

February 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bread Of Life – Jesus

John 6:48

I am the bread of life.

RayMcDWhen I was growing up – I loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. OK – I admit it – I still love them. I could fix one or two for lunch on Saturday (when I was a child) and it would carry me through the westerns on TV. I could also go for a peanut butter and potato chip sandwich or a peanut butter and banana sandwich or even a peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich. The key elements in each of these is peanut butter and bread. Before we knew that plain white bread wasn’t the best for us – I would make my sandwiches with it. I later developed a taste for my bread toasted so that the peanut butter would melt on the toasted bread. I also grew to love chunky peanut butter. I now use rye bread with seeds for my sandwiches. It would have been hard to make any of these sandwiches without the bread!

When I was growing up – someone told me that people in prison were only given bread and water to eat and drink.  I responded – what – no peanut butter? And no chocolate milk (but that is another story all together)? Continue reading

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satan Is Real and Will Try To Defeat Us

Matthew 4:10

Jesus said to him, Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”

RayMcDIn another week we will begin a new sermon series titled New Believers. It will include a number of basic beliefs and doctrines of the church. It will be a good review of the basics for those of us more mature in the faith while it will be a basic lesson plan for new believers. Recently we had 31 people accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and I thought a basic plan was needed.

In the series we will cover such topics as Temptations Still Strike, Hypocrisy Impacts All, The World Embroils, False Claims – Prosperity, and The Whole Gospel. The series will begin on February 12th and run through March 12th. If you live in the area – join us! If not – listen online when the messages are uploaded to our website – www.fumcl.org.

Before we read today’s passage and begin the new sermon series – here is a truth we must all understand – Satan is real! Satan is our to steal our joy and our peace. If possible – Satan is out to steal our walk with Jesus. Today’s passage is from the story about Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness. Temptations are real and every day – even constant. We can find today’s story in Matthew chapter 4.  Here is a wider view of today’s passage. Continue reading

February 2, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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